Some time ago the “New York Post” reported that some of the demonstrators in the Zuccotti Park Occupy Wall Street movement were bemoaning that their assets being redistributed without their knowledge. Nan Terrie, 18, said, “…stealing is our biggest problem at the moment. I had my Mac stolen – that was like $5500. Every night, something else is gone. Last night our entire [kitchen] budget for the day was stolen…”
Although the Occupy Wall Street movement does not have a defined message, they do have some valid concerns about the economic inequality that exists in America. The redistribution of wealth may be part of the solution, but that redistribution may come with a dark downside. Like the dichotomy between good and evil, wealth cannot exist without greed, so this is the question – if the OWS protesters are successful, will they turn into the greedy?
Taking from the wealthy and giving to the 99 percent is not a new concept. Robin Hood took a stab at it in 13th century. As one story goes, the lands of the Family Loxley were seized by King John, sitting ruler on behalf of his brother, King Richard. In retaliation for King John’s actions, Robin Hood started to steal from the then-one percent, and give to the poor.
This all worked very well, until the legitimate King Richard returned from the Crusades. Hearing what his brother had done, King Richard restored all the land of the Loxley family. Robin Hood became Robin of Loxley, he left his merry band behind, took Maid Marian as his wife, and became part of the one percent again.
Joseph Stalin taught us a great deal about redistribution of wealth. An original Bolshevik revolutionary, Stalin started accumulating power and wealth as soon as Vladimir Lenin died in January 1924. As time went on, Stalin got tired of sharing the wealth, which resulted in him causing mass genocide. His objective was to thin the masses who audaciously expected some of the wealth redistribution.
Likewise, Napoleon the pig didn’t waste any time in appointing himself the leader of the farm animals in George Orwell’s brilliant novel, “Animal Farm.” After Napoleon and his posse overthrow the farm owner, Napoleon, along with another pig, Snowball, organize the other farm animals into a sort of menage collective. The animals created a type of Politburo, meeting every Sunday to discuss and decide how the farm will be run. But eventually these meetings become pointless, since Napoleon was redistributing the milk and apples only to himself and his pig buddies.
A little bit of greed is not necessarily a bad thing. It motivates people to work hard and be successful. Greed in the extreme, however, may rob people of the social safety nets that are so important to America. As it is difficult to define wealth, it is difficult to define greed. An honest look into one’s own heart will always give a precise definition lead them to do the right thing.
Unfortunately, greed looks like it may have already set in among the OWS protesters. If there is any doubt, just ask Nan Terries about her laptop.